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June 13, 1977

A Child's Broken Jaw

JAMA. 1977;237(24):2603. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270510025013

To the Editor.—  I have read with considerable concern the article entitled "A Child's Broken Jaw May Heal by Itself," which appeared in the MEDICAL NEWS section (236:911, 1976). The initial paragraph states that one should "simply leave it [the broken jaw] alone." Please be assured that this is a terribly misleading and totally inappropriate statement regarding children with broken jaws. Most often, when a fractured jaw occurs in a child and it is left alone, the child will indeed end up with a noticeable malocclusion, impaired masticatory function, and growth abnormalities.The basic principle in treating youngsters with jaw fractures is the same as in adults: ie, to obtain in the simplest, least invasive manner possible good occlusion and jaw function. If these are done, all else follows. Indeed, considerable clinical experience and follow-up studies done by numerous persons have led to these conclusions.1-4The primary difference in